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Behavior Change Project Results (Presentation) Permanent Link

In partnership with OpinionWorks and the Chesapeake Bay Trust

This presentation provides an overview of the Behavior Change project, the results from the surveying effort, and some lessons learned about the survey.



Wolf Trap National Park for the Performing Arts Natural Resource Condition Assessment (Report) Permanent Link

Natural Resource Report NPS/WOTR/NRR—2015/1030

Walsh BM, Costanzo SD, Dennsion WC, Campbell JP, Lehman M, Nortrup M, Chittenden B, Goetkin P, and Schuster C

Wolf Trap National Park for the Performing Arts is a 117-acre park located approximately 18 miles west of Washington, D.C. in Vienna, Virginia. Established in 1966, the park was designated as the first national park for the performing arts. The park provides a natural sanctuary for native bird, plants, and animal species in a developing region. The natural resources of Wolf Trap National Park for the Performing Arts were assessed using the Vital Signs Framework. Overall, the natural resources of Wolf Trap National Park for the Performing Arts are in degraded condition, and are under threat from surrounding land use, regionally poor air quality, and overpopulation of deer. Climate change is predicted to negatively affect many of the natural resources of the park, including increasing ozone levels and particle pollution, raising the water temperature of streams, changing forest composition, and affecting exotic species and forest pests and diseases.



Prince William Forest Park Natural Resource Condition Assessment (Report) Permanent Link

Natural Resource Report NPS/PRWI/NRR—2015/1051

Walsh BW, Costanzo SD, Dennison WC, Campbell JP, Lehman M, Nortrup M, Carmouche C, Kelley E, Petersen P

Located approximately 35 miles south of Washington, D.C., Prince William Forest Park occupies 15,000 acres in Prince William County, Virginia. The park is the largest protected area in the region and is the third largest national park in the state of Virginia. It is also the largest example of a Piedmont forest in the national park system, and serves as a sanctuary for a diversity of plants and animals which are threatened by increasing development in northern Virginia. The vital signs framework was used to assess natural resource condition within Prince William Forest Park. Natural resources in Prince William Forest Park are in moderate condition overall and are under threat from surrounding land use (increased development), regionally poor air quality, overpopulation of deer, and exotic species and pests. Climate change is predicted to negatively affect many of the natural resources of the park, including increasing ozone levels and particle pollution, raising the water temperature of streams, changing forest composition, and allowing for the success of exotic species and forest pests and disease.



Upper Potomac Headwaters Report Card 2015 (Report card) Permanent Link

This report card was produced in December 2015 by The University of Maryland Center for Environmental Science and represents a joint effort of graduate students and faculty in the Marine Estuarine Environmental Sciences program at the Appalachian Laboratory in Frostburg and the Integration and Application Network. The report card provides an assessment of stream health in the Upper Potomac Headwaters region upstream of Harpers Ferry, West Virginia.



2014 Maryland Coastal Bays report card (Report card) Permanent Link

The aim of this report card is to provide a transparent, timely, and geographically detailed assessment of 2014 Coastal Bays health. Coastal Bays health is defined as the progress of four water quality indicators (total nitrogen, total phosphorus, chlorophyll a, dissolved oxygen) and two biotic indicators (seagrass, hard clams) toward scientifically derived ecological thresholds or goals. The six indicators are combined into one overarching CoastalBays Health Index, which is presented as the report card score. The overall score for the Coastal Bays was a C+ in 2014, a very similar score to the previous year.



Ecological Drought in Alaska (Newsletter) Permanent Link

The impacts of climate change on a large, diverse, remote landscape

The Department of the Interior Climate Science Centers (CSCs) and their managing organization, the National Climate Change and Wildlife Science Center at the U.S. Geological Survey, have chosen the emerging climate science field of Ecological Drought as a research focus area. This newsletter highlights the outcomes of a two-day workshop held in Fairbanks, Alaska, as part of a series of meetings at each of the nation’s eight CSCs. These workshops are aimed at collating our existing knowledge of the ecological impacts, resistance, and recovery from drought.



2015 Willamette River Report Card (Report card) Permanent Link

In 2014, the Meyer Memorial Trust brought together more than 20 university, agency, and technical experts to help create the first Willamette River report card. With support from the University of Maryland Center for Environmental Science, the team of experts identified key indicators to capture a current picture of river health against which to measure future changes. Overall, the Willamette River scored a B-. The health of the river declines as it flows downstream, with both the upper and middle Willamette scoring a B and the lower Willamette scoring a C+. Download the Willamette River Report Card to learn more about the health of the Willamette, and what you can do to make it better.



Integrate your data into a watershed-wide project (Poster) Permanent Link

EPA-funded nontraditional monitoring integration project

This poster outlines the project objectives and goals, three areas of focus, and requests input from nontraditional monitoring groups.



Coastal Georgia Ecosystem Report Card (Report card) Permanent Link

The Coastal Georgia Ecosystem Report Card was developed through a collaborative effort between the staff at Georgia Department of Natural Resources, Coastal Resources Division, Environmental Protection Division, Wildlife Resources Division and the University of Maryland Center for Environmental Science, Integration & Application Network. This report card provides a transparent, timely, and geographically detailed assessment of Coastal Georgia. The report card includes twelve indicators in total; three human health indicators, three fisheries indicators, and six wildlife indicators. In 2014, the overall grade for Coastal Georgia is a 76%, a B+. This means the coast is in moderately good health. For further details, visit CoastalGaDNR.org/ReportCard.



Willamette River Report Card 2015 (Report) Permanent Link

Scoring and Methodology

Simon Costanzo, Heath Kelsey and Tracey Saxby

n 2014, the Meyer Memorial Trust brought together more than 20 university, agency, and technical experts to help create the first Willamette River report card. With support from the University of Maryland Center for Environmental Science, the team of experts identified key indicators to capture a current picture of river health against which to measure future changes. Overall, the Willamette River scored a B-. The health of the river declines as it flows downstream, with both the upper and middle Willamette scoring a B and the lower Willamette scoring a C+. Download the methodology used to develop scores and grades for the Willamette River Report Card.



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About

"Writing crystallizes thought and thought produces action." Paul J. Meyer

Goals

A goal of IAN Press is to empower scientists to directly communicate their ideas and concepts. Publications from IAN Press are designed to transform the uninterested to interested; the interested to involved and the involved to engaged.

IAN Press products are designed to be examples of good science communication principles, and the hope is that others will employ these principles so that scientific understanding can be disseminated widely as possible. The production of IAN Press communication publications involves experimentation with communication techniques and, as such, provides various ideas for science communication that can be emulated.

The comparisons and contrasts that IAN Press provides on environmental subjects intend to stimulate scientists, managers, practitioners, policy makers, students and other readers to think more broadly and expansively about the region and issues that they face. The extensive use of visual elements accesses a broader cultural diversity as well, which allow for more global perspectives.

The conclusions and recommendations presented in IAN Press publications are crafted to empower actions, plant seeds of ideas and provide justification for people to take appropriate action to find solutions to environmental problems. The conclusions are made as explicit as possible by employing active titles and featuring them prominently (e.g., front section of books or back cover of newsletters).

On costs

IAN Press does not provide author royalties and the design and layout of the publications conducted by a talented team of Science Communicators is underwritten by various grants and contracts. Marketing is limited to the internet and word-of-mouth, also reducing costs. Thus, the price of IAN Press publications is solely to reimburse the actual printing costs entailed. The intent is to provide the broadest possible readership, thus keeping costs as low as possible is paramount. Typically, full color is used, virtually on every page, which does increase print costs, however, the use of color is a key element in providing accessible information to a wide audience and the lack of author royalties or design/layout charges.

Peer review

IAN Press undertakes a rigorous review process by both peer scientists and resource managers. In addition, Integration and Application Network Science Integrators and Science Communicators read, edit and review all aspects of IAN Press publications, including text, conceptual diagrams, photographs, maps, figures and tables. Many IAN Press publications are multi-authored, and each author contributes to the review and editing of the entire publication. This is not the classical peer review system of a limited number of anonymous reviewers working with an editor to recommend changes, rather a larger number of non-anonymous reviewers that develop consensus on each word, visual element and recommendation. The review process is often accelerated by IAN Press to accommodate timely publication.

Authorship

IAN Press attempts to be as authorship inclusive as possible and to provide attribution to each visual element. Authorship is not ranked or ordered, and the credibility of the IAN Press product should be based on the scientific data presented and the collective effort of a multiple of contributors, both with and without formal academic training.

Science Communicators are the key element in the production of IAN Press documents. They design the layout of the document, obtain and edit the visual elements, designate the amount and style of text, and orchestrate the review and editing process. IAN Press documents are produced using a 'storyboard' approach, in which the central message(s) are identified and various visual elements selected to support the central message(s). This is in contrast to the more traditional method of writing text and adding in visuals subsequently. In video and film production, storyboards are used and the producer is key to assembling the visual elements. Science Communicators serve in an equivalent role in terms of assembling all the pieces that go into the publication.

Color

IAN Press relies extensively on color for photographs, maps, conceptual diagrams, figures and even text and tables to a limited degree. The use of color allows for an increased data density and provides a bigger visual impact considering the amount of the human brain devoted to visual discrimination of colors. Color allows for greater discrimination of visual elements and in data presentation, a closer juxtaposition of different elements and greater comparative utility. The preponderance of color printers and the ability of electronic versions to be displayed in color promote the inexpensive dissemination of full color documents. In order to help color-blind people compensate, an effort is made to provide other visual clues in graphics, such as symbols with different shapes or map delineations with different shading or texture, but some of the visual impact will be compromised.

Audience

IAN Press does not target a narrow, specific audience, rather attempts to be as inclusive as possible. As the world becomes more specialized, with marketing forces that promote highly targeted advertising campaigns, IAN Press products attempt to reach the broadest audience possible. IAN Press attempts to raise the bar rather than dumb down the message by using non-technical language, defining all terms and reducing acronym use. By providing synthesis, visualizations and context, we feel that relatively sophisticated concepts can be grasped by a non-technical audience. In fact, science has become highly specialized and often the language, tools and approaches used in various scientific disciplines are relatively incomprehensible to specialists in other disciplines. Thus, one audience of IAN Press is scientists from other specialties to encourage inter-disciplinary thinking and approaches.

Why use print media?

With the growing popularity of electronic media, the carbon footprint involved in producing and distributing paper products, and the ability to provide infinite resources via the web, it could be argued that IAN Press should disseminate entirely via electronic means. While IAN Press provides downloadable, web accessible materials, IAN Press continues to produces written products for the following reasons:

  1. There is rigor and discipline required in producing science communication products that have limited 'real estate', that, is limited amounts of space to convey a message. A paper product maintains focus, while web links can lead to tangential issues. The priority setting required to establish the final layout and include various communication elements is important in conveying information. Fixed 'real estate' forces condensation, synthesis and integration. Every visual element is uniquely created for the purpose of conveying the specific information intended, rather than repurposed from other sources.
  2. The written product invites non-linear reading, and a quick scan allows readers to delve into the visual elements most interesting to them. If a reader is most attracted to photographs, maps, conceptual diagrams, or figures, they can migrate to these elements and the figure legends should be self explanatory. Alternatively, if reading text is the preferred way of obtaining information, the text is designed to be self sufficient. The juxtaposition of text and various visual elements also conveys important information, something that can be lost via hyperlinks on the web. In addition, electronic books with the current technology do not support color graphics.
  3. Since various IAN Press products are intended to inform a broad community from policy makers to the general public, the weight of scientific support that can be marshaled can be a factor in empowering people to action. In order to make an impact, the difference between hundreds of web pages and hundreds of printed pages is one reason to provide print versions of IAN products. In addition, internet access is not equally applied globally or socially, and in some societies and sectors of society, a written product provides a more accessible source, particularly through libraries and schools.
  4. Printed materials provide a 'time stamp', a fixed point of time when the data are assembled and the conclusions are reached. Rather than constantly updating the data and conclusions, drawing the line in the sand as to what is known at a particular time point is what printed products do. The shelf life of science communication products should be somewhat limited due to the increased scientific understanding based on ongoing research, yet the record of what is known, and when it is known, provides an important archival body of information.
  5. "The product drives the collaborative process"; in that the science communication product forces an intensely collaborative process of obtaining and refining visual elements, drafting and editing text, and experimenting with layout and design. While this collaborative process can be conducted with the production of web materials, print deadlines are a good way to insure timely delivery. In addition, to obtain buy-in from many scientists whose training and experience are in producing printed papers and books, printed copies are often necessary.